How to apply for commissioning
How to apply for commissioning with a flight contract into the United States Marine Corps via Officer Candidates Class
Before I tell you how to apply, there are some requirements:
Those wishing to apply for a commission in the Marine Corps must achieve certain minimums on either the SAT, ACT, or the ASVAB. Speak with an OSO to find out the current requirements.
Other minimum qualification requirements include:
- Minimum of a Bachelors Degree (upon commissioning)
- Must be a United States Citizen
- Must be between 18 and 28 (no older than age 30 for current enlisted)
- Must Meet Normal Accession Medical Standards
- Must Be Eligible for a Security Clearance. Applicants convicted of any felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude can forget it. History of addiction to any narcotic, illegal drug, or alcohol is disqualifying.
Air applicants must also take and pass the Aviation Selection Test Battery (ASTB). Marine Corps minimum test scores are 4/6/6. A one-point waiver is available for those who don’t achieve the minimum score.
The first thing you have to do is find an Officer Selection Officer (OSO). They will walk you through the entire process, as well as answer all of the questions you have.
After I met with my OSO, the first thing I was told to do was get a medical exam at MEPS. The purpose of MEPS is to qualify individuals for enlistment. Three primary areas are considered in determining an applicant’s qualifications:
- aptitude for military service
- physical qualification
- background evaluation screening
You can read about my MEPS experience here.
After MEPS, you begin the arduous task of getting 7 letters of personal reference (8 if you are in college still, you need one from your Dean). I got 8 letters anyway: one from a retired Naval Aviator, one from a Congressman, one from the head of the New Jersey chapter of a national conservative political organization, two from employers (one is ex-Marine), my Pastor, and two professors from college.
You need to call or visit your dentist and ask them to write a letter stating that your teeth are in good condition. My dentist was happy to write one.
You must fill out an Electronic Personnel Security Questionnaire Worksheet (EPSQ). The EPSQ is a ridiculously long questionnaire regarding the past 7 years of your life. Take your time on it and make sure it is correct.
The Officer application itself is short. You have to write an essay on why you want to be a Marine Officer. Sounds easy, until you read that is has to be 100 words. Yes, only 100 words.
Sometime during the process you are sent to see an eye doctor and must pass a cycloplegic eye exam. The requirements of the exam are as follows:
a. Visual activity 20/30 OD & OS must be correctable to 20/20
b. Cycloplegic refraction:
(1) Myopia refraction
(2) Hyperopia no greater then +3.00 diopters
(3) Astigmatism no greater then +/-0.75 diopters.
Once you finish all of the above and provide your OSO with the necessary documents (Social Security card, birth certificate, college diploma, SAT score report, etc) your application is sent out for the next Officer Selection board.
There are three classes per year: January, June, and October. The boards typically meet a month or so before the class. Expect to hear back from the board via your OSO a week or two after the board convenes.
Do not be discouraged if you don’t get into the class you applied for. If you really want to be a Marine, prove it to them, apply again.
After you have been accepted for a flight contract, you are usually sent down to Pensacola, Florida for a flight physical.